A 24-year-old Inverness man who inflicted a double jaw fracture on a retired accountant “because he felt like it” was jailed for 18 months yesterday.
Zeke McKnight, of Woodlands Brae, Inverness, was found guilty by a jury majority at Inverness Sheriff Court in August of punching 73-year-old Gordon Moggach on the face to his severe injury.
Sentence was deferred until September for a background report but when McKnight, who had previously been jailed for a serious assault, turned up to be dealt with by Sheriff Eilidh Macdonald, he absconded after learning that he was likely to be jailed.
He was re-arrested a month later and remanded in custody, with background and psychological reports being called for.
Defence solicitor Clare Russell said her client had suffered several traumas in “a fractured and chaotic childhood” and had been diagnosed with a complex post traumatic stress disorder.
She added: “Alcohol and illicit substances played a large role as he sued them to block out those traumas. But he is at the stage where he is willing to accept help.”
Sheriff Eilidh Macdonald said there was no alternative to a jail sentence, saying: “This was a serious, nasty and unprovoked assault on an elderly man going about his business.”
The trial heard that Mr Moggach, now aged 76, was out for an evening stroll when he was attacked a short distance from his home in an upmarket area near Kingsmills Road.
The evidence against McKnight was circumstantial as neither Mr Moggach or an eye witness could identify him as the assailant.
However they were able to give a description of him which tied in with other witnesses who had seen McKnight in the area at the time, around 5,30pm on March 16, 2017.
All described him as tall, slim, in early 20s, wearing a blue anorak and dark jeans, carrying a backpack.
Inverness Sheriff Court was told the pensioner asked why McKnight had done it and the reply was: “because I felt like it.”
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The accountant then followed McKnight for a short distance before he was warned he would be hurt more if he continued.
Mr Moggach was initially treated in Raigmore Hospital, Inverness but underwent surgery in Aberdeen the following day for a metal plate to be inserted in his jaw.
Minutes after, McKnight, still wearing the blue anorak and carrying a backpack entered Crown Stores further down Kingsmills Road wanting to buy a bottle of Buckfast.
Shop assistant Muriel Macdonald was able to give his name as she had asked him for ID to prove his age.
Then two other witnesses also came forward to police within 24 hours and identified McKnight’s photograph as the drunk man they had seen walking towards Kingsmills Road through nearby Lochiel Road and Eriskay Road at the relevant time.